President Obama is polling neck-and-neck with four Republican presidential candidates, according to a Gallup survey of registered voters.
When matched against Obama in a hypothetical election, the four GOP contenders -- Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Ron Paul and Michele Bachmann – are statistically tied with the incumbent president.
Romney has a slight edge over Obama (48% to 46%), while Perry and Obama are tied at 47%. Obama has a slight edge over Paul (47% to 45%) and a slightly larger edge over Bachmann (48% to 44%).
Respondents were surveyed Aug. 17-18 and were asked whom they would support if the 2012 election were held now. The survey has a sampling error of 4 percentage points.
Republicans appeared to prefer Perry – 92% said they would vote for him – followed by Romney (91%), Bachmann (86%) and Paul (82%) in a match-up with Obama.
Independents chose Romney, Perry and Paul over Obama, but favored Obama over Bachmann by 6 percentage points.
Obama’s support from Democrats did not exceed 86% when he was matched against any of the four Republicans. Twelve percent of Democrats said they would vote for Romney or Paul over Obama.
Historically, some incumbent presidents have rebounded from poor polling in the summer before an election year.
Bill Clinton lagged behind Republican challenger Bob Dole by 2 percentage points in an August 1995 Gallup poll. And Ronald Reagan led Democratic challenger Walter Mondale by just 1 percentage point in August 1983.
Earlier this month, Obama’s job approval rating – as measured by Gallup’s daily tracking poll -- dipped below 40% for the first time. Reagan and Clinton both had approval ratings below 50% in the summer before they were reelected.
Obama’s approval is at 40% in the latest tracking poll from Aug. 19-21.